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With Apple’s iOS 14 privacy features set to revolutionise iPhone user privacy settings, we assess the damage these changes could have on Facebook advertising for small businesses.

If you ever wanted to see a high-profile “sparring sesh”, don’t look beyond Apple and Facebook’s latest feud.

In an unprecedented move to protect user privacy, Apple’s iOS 14 update is set to transform data tracking permissions as of 19th January 2021.

Despite improved privacy and security seemingly a positive move from a user perspective, the impact on Facebook Ads for small businesses is so bleak even the social media giant is worried.

How will the Apple iOS 14 update impact Facebook advertising?

The addition of app tracking controls, a website Privacy Report button and further privacy information included on the App Store, is going to change the way businesses use data.

The problem for businesses using Facebook Ads is that apps will have to get permission from iOS 14 users to allow them to track their activity – including Facebook. In essence, it’s the equivalent of GDPR in the email marketing world.

However, perhaps the most concerning factor for Facebook Ad users is the method of changing these privacy settings. To gain permission to track a user’s data, you can’t simply tweak your privacy policy and send out a quick confirmation email. Users must manually opt-in when prompted.

This includes all iOS apps, such as:

Facebook

Instagram

Messenger

 WhatsApp

Apps that utilise Facebook’s Audience Network

While we can’t speak on behalf of the world, we do believe a lot of people will tap the ‘Ask App Not to Track’ option.

Apple’s iOS 14 will impact Facebook Ads in a number of ways:

You’ll find it harder to optimise cost per action over time and allocate budgets accordingly.

 Custom audiences will be reduced and you’ll no longer be able to split iOS 14 opt-outs by age, location and even gender.

  Conversion events will be limited to 8 per domain.

Reporting will become more challenging, with the limitation of the Facebook Pixel affecting your ability to see conversion rates.

Your Facebook Ad data might be delayed by 2-3 days.

Facebook Ad best practices following Apple’s iOS 14 update

The Facebook and Apple iOS 14 episode may seem a bit drab and dreary – especially during these challenging times for small businesses. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Firstly, these opt-in rules won’t impact Android and desktop users. So, your ability to develop targeted campaigns won’t be completely distorted. On an obvious note, iPhone users with the iOS 14 update may actively choose to opt-in if there’s something in it for them. For example, opting in may enable the user to find their nearest store more easily.

Facebook has openly committed to making changes and finding solutions to minimise any disruptions to business Facebook Ads, stating:

In fact, Facebook has already made some positive changes. In the latest version of Facebook SDK, they've created a new data-sharing protocol (Aggregated Event Measurement) for iOS that allows the measurement of web events for iOS 14 users. This gives small businesses the power to personalise, measure and optimise ads for app install ads on iOS 14 devices. So, if you use Facebook SDK, make sure you update to the latest SDK version.

It’s also worth verifying your domain in Facebook Business Manager and defining your 8 Pixel events per domain in preparation.

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of the creative side of a Facebook Ad. Apple’s update may restrict reported performance, but it doesn’t necessarily reduce the performance of your Facebook Ad campaign. You still have the license to create an eye-catching graphic and punchy hook which generates results.

So, don’t hold back. Focus on creating vibrant, bold flashing animations or static images which force people to stop scrolling and demand them to act.

“We will continue to support your business through these changes and will do our best to introduce new ad features and measurement solutions to offer the best ad performance and measurement we can despite the limitations announced by Apple. We will provide additional updates as Apple chooses to provide more transparency and makes more information available.”

Call in the Facebook Ad and digital marketing experts

If you’re concerned about the impact of Apple’s iOS 14, you can always call in a Facebook advertising expert.

At Design in the Shires, we have the experience and the creativity to maximise the performance of your Facebook Ad, despite the new user privacy changes.

We can also help you develop a higher level of cohesion across your entire digital marketing strategy. If anything, the Apple iOS 14 update could act as a wake-up call for small businesses to start taking a more proactive approach moving forward.

With the right digital marketing support, anything is possible.  get in touch with us today.

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